Bruce Bemer Defense Team Announces Plans To Appeal Conviction Of Speedbowl Owner

Bruce Bemer is congratulated after he was the high bidder on a foreclosure of auction of the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in October 2014

In a statement released late Monday evening through the law firm of Barry, Barall and Spinella, LLC it was announced that New London-Waterford Speedbowl track owner Bruce Bemer will appeal his conviction in a recent case involving sex trafficking charges. 

Bemer was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday. On April 10 a jury in Danbury Superior Court found Bemer guilty of four counts of patronizing a trafficked person and one count of being an accessory to human trafficking. The jury had deliberated for about two days.

Bemer was released on a $750,000 bond Monday after his sentencing.

The statement released by Bemer’s lawyers is below: 

DANBURY, June 17, 2019 – ​Bruce Bemer’s conviction is based on fatally flawed jury instructions that robbed our client of due process and his right to a fair trial.

Today in court, Judge Pavia said that the jury heard the facts, and applied them to the law. The problem is, she didn’t give the jury an essential element of the crime but nevertheless decided that the jury knew about it and found Bruce guilty based on it.

While Judge Pavia allowed the verdict to stand, Yale Law Professor William Eskridge, one of our nation’s leading experts in statutory interpretation, has called the coercion-based verdicts a “miscarriage of justice.” He made those remarks in a letter to Judge Pavia, which we have included as part of this release. Our courts are supposed to do justice. Today, justice didn’t happen in Danbury.

Our appellate lawyers are working on Bruce’s appeal and we fervently expect that justice will eventually prevail.

The 65-year old Bemer was also sentenced to five years probation and will be forced to register as a sex offender. Bemer faced a possible 60 years in prison. He had reportedly rejected a plea deal that would have spared him jail time previously.

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  1. Well, that escalated quickly.


  2. if you want news on Bruce Bemer , use local papers and media. Lets not muck up this site with court dealings. If you want news on the speedbowl use facebook. Mike Surluca is the one with real racing updates at the speedbowl. There are a lot of fans and racers that want the speedbowl to survive and hopefully Mike and his crew can make it happen. Without Mike, i don’t think it would be possible.

  3. Help, help, help! I’m stuck in the weeds of the judicial system and can’t find my way out.
    What’s this all mean and what are the chances the verdict is overturned or vacated? Sheesh, who knows.
    One thing is clear, this Yale law professor has some serious chops. Then again he’s a professor that compares real world legal events to the highest standards. The absence of perfection may not be the basis for overturning a verdict.
    One thing is for sure. You have money you can string this deal out for a long time.Remaining free on bail pending an appeal is totally discretionary on the the part of the judge. Bemers legal team won that battle.
    Does public perception count at all? Most times when verdicts are overturned there’s an element of sympathy for the convicted or a notion the verdict was unfair. Aside from a couple hard cases in this forum that’s not the case at all is it?

  4. Steve, Bruce Bemer is racing news and belongs right here. Bruce Bemer is the owner of the bowl and his legal problems are a good part of the reason the bowl is in the mess it is in. This is local media. Welcome to the modern world.

    You think facebook is a good source for news on the bowl??? 🤣🤣🤣😂😂🤣😂😂🤣🤣😂😂🤣😂😂🤣🤣 Hey steve, is the bowl open yet? When did facebook say the bowl was going to open? That’s why nobody should use facebook for bowl news.

  5. Yeah u know more than the guy who is managing the speedbowl. He has no reason to lie or fool anyone.

  6. Crazy in NY says

    That’s why nobody should use facebook for bowl news.

    Yeah and nobody should get information from you either.
    What a gas bag,

  7. Steve, Crazy, not much about the bowl on facebook has happened. The place was demo’d in January, schedule announced months ago claiming to open in May. Here we are, in the second half of June, no chance of opening in the near future. I’ve been right all along.

    Somebody else has been spreading the 🐂💩 or is completely clueless.

  8. For me what has happened at the Speedbowl is “ground breaking”.
    Serluca seems to be fundamentally, truthful and sincere and is clearly well liked and respected. Can we all say the same?
    He’s not required to conduct himself using the standards set by Mother Teresa. As far as I can see from inviting the naysayers to visit the track and see what’s happening to constantly giving out his phone number and email no track official makes himself more accessible
    Each statement has to be taken in context but on the whole he seems to be rationing out information in a responsible way that reflects the degree of uncertainty he is dealing with. Clearly erring on the side of optimism at times that can be a little misleading but that is the nature of a positive, can do personality.
    If you check into the Speedbowl Facebook page you’ll see a video of Mike giving a pretty detailed update of where the track stands on most everything we’d care about. Plus an emotional plea that lays bare the price of what this has all cost him. Also cheer leading for fans to visit other area tracks and Speedbowl teams to race at other places as well.
    With the exception of the foul mouth and petty references to those that wish him and the track ill will it was magnificent in my view.

  9. Plain and simple, Bemer arrested, indicted, tried, convicted and sentenced to 10 Years. Now he’s appealing and in the mean time is out on bail. This has happened with much worse people, and is sorta commonplace. As far as the ‘Bowl goes, he hasn’t spoken of it in years, and don’t expect him to now. So we sit and wait.

  10. ShortTrackRacer says

    Well I feel like this is like when I was in school and kept telling my parents “yes i’m going to study tomorrow”…then tomorrow becomes next week…then I would fail because I didn’t study. We keep being told everything will be all set and it WILL open this year. They’ve know since December that the grandstands were coming down. So if they’re still waiting for permits someone dropped the ball…

  11. There may have been a time to grumble about not getting updates. There may have been a time to criticize Serluca for painting too rosy a picture. That time is over. Now if you are making plans to field a car there or attend races and feel disappointed it’s not happening fast enough it’s totally on you. You’ve been informed.
    The Facebook video so far has gotten 5 thousand views and 145 comments. Comments that mostly thank Serluca for the candid update. An update that promised no target dates for racing, said progress is being made but only at a snails pace, he has no control over the money and that the only thing that is certain is uncertainty.
    Sooooooo. if you are not paying attention to the never ending saga of the owner and not listening to the manager at the track and are still feeling betrayed. You should have listened to your parents and developed your study habits.


  12. Whenever the bowl General Manager gets mentioned, I think of the Wizard from the Wizard of Oz.

    It’s only a dream, it’s only a dream, it’s only a dream, it’s only a dream…

  13. donald super says

    speedbowl r.i.p.

  14. ShortTrackRacer, that has to be one of the best posts ever.

    The question then becomes, how much longer will the rest of the people continue to believe the bowl General Manager and how everything is doing just fine? Look at what Trump has done, he’s pissed off North Korea, Iran, Turkey, and others, and sent them off to be friends with China and Russia. Not good, very bad, and Trump is telling us this is all good and great, and he’s doing the best job in the history of the USA and the world. It’s our job, responsibility and duty as a consumer and patriot to call out 🐂 💩 when we see it.

    Hey Doug, all those replies on Facebook, how many are *STILL* praising the GM for all his great work?

    And if the track is still waiting for permits, let’s not presume there is any fault on the part of the town. The town has other things to do besides babysit the rehab of the track, and make sure the management of the track knows what he is supposed to be doing.

  15. Kevin Blias says

    dareal do you have anything better to do then sit on your computer all day spewing utter nonsense? This is a freaking racing page, not a place to spew your political agenda. Cant even read these comments anymore because its the same 4 or 5 people on every single article arguing with one another. Same thing that takes place all over facebook and people wonder why new fans don’t show up at the track. Why the heck would I want to go someplace when everyone complains. You have to be the most negative person on the planet.

  16. People, try to think. Work through the pain.

    The owner of the track was recently convicted of heinous crimes, sentenced to 10 years in prison, he’s 65 years old, and you all are anxiously waiting for the track to be rebuilt into a glorious new facility, ready to go racing. Is something wrong with this picture?

    Given the above, the owner has bigger concerns, like the businesses he owns that actually make money. He has to make sure they keep making money. The legal issues are not good endorsements for him, nor will his admissions, and convictions, help his businesses.

    And you all think he’s about to pour hundreds of thousands, close to millions of dollars into the track get it rebuilt and up and running for you little snowflakes. That’s so cute! 👶 Yeah, you can believe that he’s totally concerned about the expenses of the teams and if the fans have a local track. {major sarcasm}

    I wouldn’t be surprised if his legal bills have been far more than he’s spending on rehabbing the track. He’s already got $1,250,000 tied up in bail. He’s had and has NUMEROU$ high powered lawyer$. He’s using high profile, high power lawyers, and the rates for those guys can be about $850/hour, plus fees, investigators, consultants, Yale profs, etc. He had a very expensive appeals lawyer go through the trial too. That was big bu¢k$, doubling his legal fees through the trial. Let’s make this clear… he had an appeals lawyer on board from the beginning, and that shows how desperate they are, and how he is willing to spend whatever it takes to get out of this. You think getting the track open for you people is his priority?

    This is a completely different world from those that have to figure out where they are going to get the coin for the race night or weekend beers.

  17. Crazy Larry says

    Where the JUSTICE RING LEADER GETS 4 1/2 YEARS ?????

  18. Hey Kevin Blias, still waiting for the track to announce something else that won’t happen? Some advice, don’t get excited about announcements anymore.

    More news:

  19. Crazy Larry,
    Just to be clear here, the ringleader took a plea bargain and that was the agreement he made with the state. Bemer reportedly had the same option to take a plea deal, with no jail time, and opted for a jury trial. So comparing the apparent “justice” anyone involved was shown is a moot point. Bemer and his defense team took their chances with a trial and jury and that was the outcome. He had the same opportunity to take a plea bargain – apparently a much better plea bargain – and opted not to. So let’s not turn this into a comparison of who got what for those involved.

  20. This case is bizarre. It is stunning that the defense based their position on the “I didn’t know”, or the “my client didn’t know” strategies.

    To claim that Bemer didn’t know what was going on after doing business with King for over 20 years is absurd.

    The other two, King and Trefzger, pleaded or were found guilty of human trafficking. The Bemer camp claims he had no idea what was going on.

  21. Mod Man 2x says

    I don’t post on here but you have got to be kidding me Doug. Are you really blaming the fans for complaining about the lack of work done by the track? They’ve had months to get things done and haven’t. Still waiting on permits? What’s taking so long. The Blastoff Weekend was supposed to start on May 11. They said there was some issues and they announced they had to delay the opening to either June 1st or the 8th. Well, it’s June 20th and there’s still nothing done, no plans for grandstands, and they no longer have a press box or any of the equipment that was in it for the scoreboard because they tore that down by accident. So, even if they get the plans in now there’s no way they’ll be able to open until possibly the end of August or the start of September. Just look at Monadnock for example, they had everything in order and even had their new grandstands onsite, and they still had to delay their opening by three weeks because of weather related problems.

  22. Speaking for myself Kevin I can say that frequently I don’t have anything better to do then comment of this site. Is that bad?
    The same 3 or 4 people commenting is getting you down is it? Let’s take a look at some numbers.
    In the first, what I would call a queue, there are 19 articles/press releases. Of the 19, 11 had no comments. A total of 58 comments were made under 8 headlines not including the moderator. Controversial topics always draw the most and longest entries. DGF leads everyone with 14, I’m second at 10 and several more have three each.
    Here is the defense I would mount for the frequent bloviators including myself.
    1) you’re not obligated to read a comment. Names are right on them. Skip over the offenders. Or just read the articles.
    2) Frequently guys like you Kevin will whine about guys like me but never actually contribute anything except whining. Most articles get no comments. What are you waiting for. Or is it you prefer to see blank space?
    3) A lot of good information, fan reports, links and anecdotes are interspersed with all the BS. The one line congratulatory entries you seem to want this forum limited to are fine but in volume are simply tedious.
    4) The notion that what is said here is somehow responsible for fans not showing up at the track is probably one of the most hyperbolic, dot connecting flights of fancy I’ve read lately. First because people that decide to attend a race for the first time don’t even know these sites exist. Second the race attendance at Stafford anyway has been robust when the weather is good and better then expected when the weather has been less then ideal. And while we’re at it lets stop the whole circle track racing is dying deal at least for Stafford anyway. Car counts have been great and crowds showing signs of growth if anything. At least that’s this fans one track perspective.
    Granny said if you’re coming to dinner bring something more then a healthy appetite and complaints about what you don’t think tastes good………..Kevin.

  23. If Bruce needed the money he would have sold the speedway long ago. If he didn’t have any interest in the track he would not have people on the payroll. Racers and race fans want the track to stay. We are hoping for the best, there are no broken promises.

  24. To my knowledge Mod Fan 2x’s I’ve been nothing but supportive of the Speedbowl fan base. I mentioned there was rumblings about the lack of updates. I mentioned an update has been issued that gives the current status.
    If it didn’t give you the answer you wanted and you think progress is too slow that’s on you. It is what it is in my view. All I was saying there is no basis to complain about status updates at least for now.

  25. Steve wrote: “blah-blah-blah… there are no broken promises.”


    How is that BLASTOFF WEEKEND opening schedule doing? We BLASTED right through May 11, the opening date announced around January, still no racing. Is that a broken promise, Steve?


  26. Hey Steve, looks like as long as no more promises are made, they can’t be broken!!!!!


  27. Rumor has it that Doug is actually Shawn making the threads interesting …

  28. Steve, the courts have frozen some $25 million of Mr. Bemer’s assets, that was reported shortly after Mr. Bemer was arrested. As part of that, he can’t do major transactions, only normal day-to-day type business. Selling a major asset like the track would not be allowed without approvals or some sort of oversight from the court.

    Hey Mod Man 2x, back when Bemer was arrested and there was all sorts of chatter going on, it was Doug that encouraged fans to support the track to increase Bemer’s wealth so there would be more assets for the victims when they sue Bemer. 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡

  29. Louie,
    Not sure how to respond to that, but you’re an idiot if you think that. I do love when people who don’t have the spine to use a real name or a real email address come on here and make absolutely moronic accusations about what I do here. But thank you for leaving your last comment here Louie, you made it a good one when it comes to its level of idiocy.

  30. After watching the GM FB video the part that is most telling I think people missed. He said they dont even have a quote from the Contractor, WTF? Then once quote comes its gotta go to the higher ups for approval. Also I found interesting that the GM is only onsite 2days a week,(thats part time folks!) this is a full time job especially with facility repairs ongoing. Scheduling wise if opens this year is going to be interesting, what series promoters are still planning to run at Waterford in 2019? How many teams are really still waiting on Speedbowl 2019(full fields aint gonna happen). They should obviously get stands in place and organized but would be better off running 1 end of year spectacle than trying to salvage a race season.

  31. Kevin Blias says

    dareal my comment had nothing to do with the speedbowl opening or staying closed for ever. Everything posted on this site no matter what it is has you and a few other people arguing for a week until a new news story comes up. Get a freaking life dude. You always spew hatred towards President Trump but you are a more egotistical narcissist then him but the biggest difference is he is actually accomplishing something unlike you who sits on his computer all day arguing with everyone with an opinion.

  32. Kevin Blias, facts attacked are still facts. Opinions are not facts. Let’s have a fact based conversation, the facts, the whole set of facts, and nothing but the facts. But folks like you like to use only your exclusively selected set of facts (cherry picking) and alternative facts, diversion and distraction, and ignore a whole body of relevant facts that don’t fit your agenda. Too bad. Ignoring the facts are not going to get the track open any sooner. And attacking those that want to have a discussion with all facts will only make the discussion louder and longer. Keep it going. Discussing facts is not negative. That’s something you are going to have to get over.

  33. Andrew B. says

    dareal wrote:
    “It is stunning that the defense based their position on the “I didn’t know”, or the “my client didn’t know” strategies.”

    No. They based their position on the “you (the prosecution) DIDN’T PROVE that my client knew” strategy.

    And even though it didn’t work yet, who knows, in the end, it might work.

    I’m not saying that’s good or bad, just what it is.
    Time will tell.

  34. Andrew B., from what I read, from a published report on the closing comments from the defense, the defense admitted that what he did with the boys was despicable, but was oblivious, unaware and not involved with or related to any trafficking. There was a very good, thorough and informative report right after the closing statements were made. The case was all about defending Bemer from the trafficking element of the charges. Bemer admitted to the acts, so that was indefensible. The defense is trying to create a huge divide in the >20 year relationship between Bemer and King, a long term relationship between the two.

    Per the jury, the State did indeed prove their case, the jury made that decision. The defense is claiming the jury decision was based on defective instructions from the judge, which dwell on the crucial dispute of if Bemer knew the boys were trafficked. The defense is dissecting the judge’s instructions and whether the instructions were sufficient to qualify the decision as valid to weigh trafficking. The defense is saying that the jury reached that verdict of guilty due to defective instructions. The defense is splitting legal hairs with wordy word definitions, and challenging the common understanding of the English language. To be expected. The defense has to try to poke holes. Bemer admitted to doing this for over 20 years, per published reports. That admission is a definite disadvantage to the defense.

    The jury decision can not be appealed. The process can be challenged, and if flaws are found in the trial, then a trial result can be vacated and a retrial ordered.

    A retrial would be interesting. King has been sentenced, guilty of trafficking, so was the other guy. It kinda looks worse for Bemer now given those two are guilty of and sentenced for trafficking. Perhaps those victims that declined to testify in the first trial will testify in a retrial after the sentencing of the other two convicts. The defense is requesting a retrial, but if that should ever happen, they will then claim that a fair trial is not possible due to the publicity, notoriety, etc. Just wait… this ain’t over.

    But like you said, time will tell.

  35. there is news about the speedbowl in the DAY newspaper today. No promises but it is looking good

  36. Steve, Serluca is talking November, how is that good?

    The article was published on June 21, 2019. Here are a couple highlights:

    “Serluca, who took on the management role last fall, and Town Planning Director Abby Piersall said applications were submitted earlier this week to get the ball rolling on grandstand replacement — a first in the popular track’s 69-year history.”

    APPLICATIONS WERE SUBMITTED THIS WEEK?!?!?!?!??!? Grandstands were demolished in January, and the permits to get the ball rolling were just submitted this week?

    “We are 100 percent planning on running events this year,” Serluca said in an interview Friday evening. “I don’t know how many I can guarantee at this time. If I have to run into November, it’ll be cold but I’ll get these guys as many races as they can race.”

    Yeah, and we all planned on being billionaires.

    Serluca said he’s meeting with a contractor on Monday who will help establish a timeline, and he added that “the town of Waterford has been absolutely remarkable to work with. We’ve met zero resistance from them the whole time.”

    Monday, June 23, I presume. To establish a timeline. This is long after the May 11 Blast Off date. Good move saying good things about the Town. Glad to see the Town has not been part of the problem.

    “Engineering snags, including the need to create drainage to better control rainwater from the parking lot area, held up construction further, he said.”

    Drainage problems have been known forever. That was no snag.

    “The Speedbowl has such a huge following and they’ve been under a cloud of not knowing what’s going on,” he said. “I was hoping to give them some solidarity but construction has been a lot more involved than what was anticipated. But next season we won’t have this obstacle in front of us and we should be in good shape to open up on time.”

    Talking about next year already? That’s not a good sign. Somebody is trying to blow some more smoke.

    So either the management of this debacle are clueless bumbleheads, or Bemer is restricting expenditures to a minimum just to keep the property classified as a race track, and keep his options open to keep operating the track as such. And when I say restricting expenditure to a minimum, it means to the dollar. Or both.

    Just keep in mind that the stands were demo’d in January, and permit apps were just placed a couple days ago, like the week of June 19th, some 5 months after the stands were demo’d. Looks like construction can’t start until a couple months from now. You know, more snags, and “snags”. The track management is just meeting with a construction outfit this week, and hopefully will have labor available to start a job in the midst of construction season. November looks very optimistic. Make that November of 2019 looks very optimistic.

    What’s that song? “Don’t.. stop… believing… “

  37. Dennis Shivers says

    Dont know anything about this story..I’m a race fan and would hate to see another track close.As far as the owner of the track,from what I have read he had a choice to take a deal or go to trial.If he was guilty of these charges why would he chance getting a lot more yrs in prison and losing all that money to lawyers?
    So are there any chances this guy is innocent?

  38. Dennis Shivers, you need to consider guilty, innocent, not innocent and not guilty. Innocence is not in question here, only guilty or not guilty. If someone is found not guilty, they are not also found to be innocent. Not guilty simply means the state failed to prove guilt.

    Besides, Bemer already admitted to using these guys for sex. That’s in the reports and has been admitted by his attorney in court. The contested issue is the trafficking, and if Bemer knew these guys were trafficked. Again, not a matter of innocence, but guilty or not guilty.


  39. Dennis Shivers says

    That’s info I didn’t know. Really wish i didn’t know now lol
    Geezus That’s to much info for me.. I’m from the ole school if ya know what I mean..
    I guess what ever floats your boat…….
    Maybe I should stop, Just when I was gonna grab a bite to eat
    Thanks for response darealgoodfella

  40. Latest news, as of July 12, Bruce has settled eleven of the civil lawsuits so far, few more to go.

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